Slant 9-15-2016

• Two solid sources give us a sweet scenario floating around out there in political circles. If Brad Avakian, current Oregon labor commissioner, wins the secretary of state contest in November, who will complete his term? Lane County’s own Val Hoyle, of course. She left her seat in the Legislature to run against Avakian for secretary of state, lost, and is looking for a new job. Hoyle, who comes from a New England Democratic labor background, would be an excellent labor commissioner. But first Avakian has to win the secretary of state race. We’re voting for him.

• Will someone please tell us why Hillary Clinton, who has spent her entire life in politics, is so miserable with the press? If she really wants to be president of the United States, and sometimes we wonder, she must establish a new relationship with those professionals who tell the country about her. Long before the advent of electronic media, we liked advice that still holds true: Don’t fight with anybody who buys ink by the barrel.

• The hundreds of Native Americans involved in the Standing Rock protest of the North Dakota Access Pipeline were able to celebrate Friday, despite a federal judge’s ruling that denied the Standing Rock Sioux’s request to halt construction on the pipeline near their reservation. Because minutes after the ruling, the Obama administration by way of the Army and the departments of Justice and the Interior acknowledged the “important issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations and their members regarding the Dakota Access pipeline specifically, and pipeline-related decision-making generally.” The halt on construction of this portion of the pipeline is a huge step forward, as is the statement that “this case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects.” Read the whole statement on our blog.

• Good information came out at the City Club of Eugene meeting Sept. 9 on the Glenwood Refinement Plan, but it did leave us with a feeling that the planning for this special space between Eugene and Springfield will go on forever. Planning began in 1985, and a city club member who has worked on the plans estimated to us that not much will happen for 10 years.  However, construction of three roundabouts on Franklin Boulevard is expected to begin soon and that’s an important step. Steve Moe, from the Springfield Planning Commission, Courtney Griesel, community development manager for Springfield, and Barry Sommer, Glenwood resident, all spoke. Sommer’s concerns about the future for residents of the Riverbank RV park showed in part why this has all taken so long. Where do those residents who have been renting riverbank space for $300 a month go? Some to the streets.

Twenty-one youth plaintiffs had their climate case heard in federal court again, this time in front of U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken. Who are these kids up against? The U.S. government and the largest energy companies in the world like Exxon Mobile and BP (of massive gulf oil spill fame) who are calling for the case to be dismissed. Undeterred by their opponents, attorney Julia Olson of Our Children’s Trust, climate scientist James Hansen and the youth from around the country and Eugene allege that in failing to address climate change, “the federal government has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.” Aiken will issue a decision within 60 days, and if she rules in favor of the youth, this major climate case could go to trial or settlement.

• Drivers on I-5 near Sutherlin have been greeted by the sight of an effigy of Hillary Clinton hanging from a crane surrounded by signs bearing slogans like “Vote Trump”. Incidents like this as well as the recent sightings of local white supremacist Jimmy Marr driving around the state with signs reading “Trump: Do the White Thing” and other racist statements have made national headlines (and made Oregon look bad). It’s not just us; it’s nationwide. Has voicing hate become acceptable? Don’t just drive by when you see racism. Speak up. Call it out.